Women’s financial inclusion crucial to fast-track poverty alleviation: Imran

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said women’s financial inclusion was crucial to fast-track poverty alleviation, thereby contributing to the national economic development.

Addressing the gathering during the launch of the Ehsaas Saving Wallets programme, the prime minister said no nation could progress until it empowers its weaker social groups.

The initiative, an essential component of Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Strategy, was launched by the prime minister during the visit of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands in 2019.

The prime minister said the saving wallets programme was in line with the universal fact that the inclusion of women in the financial system could help them run independent businesses and save money to overcome the economic woes.

He said the Ehsaas programme was acknowledged by World Bank as the fourth effective welfare initiative to provide a safety net to the poor and deserving during the coronavirus.

Imran said across the world, the pandemic pushed millions of people below the poverty line, however, Ehsaas succeeded in reaching out to the poor inspired by the principles of compassion of the state of Medina.

He thanked Queen Máxima for coming to Pakistan as a Special UN Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and support the project, aimed at the financial empowerment of women.

The prime minister mentioned that Pakistan also desired to follow the model of China that helped 700 million people come out of extreme poverty.

He expressed confidence that the latest initiative would prove to be an effective step towards helping households in managing their finances better and meet emergency needs and invest to increase their earnings.

On the occasion, Dutch ambassador Wouter Plomp read out the message of Queen Máxima, expressing her satisfaction with the implementation of the drive.

The prime minister interacted with beneficiary women of the wallet programme and issued directions to resolve their grievances.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Sania Nishtar said the initiative would lead to digital and financial inclusion of women and open avenues for them to take better advantage of opportunities offered under the Ehsaas initiative.

She said globally, there were examples of economies that had encouraged a mindset shift towards savings and had reaped its benefits.

Kenya, she mentioned, had introduced mobile money transfers, resulting in savings increase of 22 percent in the beneficiary households, and helped lift 2 percent of these households out of extreme poverty.

She said Argentina transitioned from cash handouts to account transfers for a national anti-poverty programme, and the transition was found to reduce corruption.

On cash payments, she said, four percent of recipients reported paying kickbacks to people or organisations that helped enroll them in the programme. On the other hand, when the payments were made directly into accounts, the number dropped to just 0.03 percent.

Nishtar also mentioned Bangladesh as an example of how digital savings accounts were used to change the nature of government-to-person programmes from social protection to social investment using financial literacy campaigns.

She said the seven goals of socio-welfare importance under 270 projects of Ehsaas were actively being carried out with weekly and monthly reviews in line with the 32 covenants.

The programme is making headways keeping in view the areas of transparency and audit, information security, data governance and financial control, she added.

She also mentioned that a national Ehsaas survey was 88 percent completed and announced that its first one-window operation centre would soon be opened at the Sitara Market in Islamabad.

She also gave a snapshot of the overall achievements under the umbrella of Ehsaas programme: the undergraduate scholarship, emergency cash programme, primary, secondary and undergraduate educational stipends, nashunuma programme to check stunting in 15 districts, the establishment of 35 soup kitchens out of 112, and the orphanages and shelter homes with one-star bed and breakfast facility.

Nishtar further said a programme had been designed in collaboration with the National Bank of Pakistan to give soft loans to small grocery shop owners.

The latest programme will deepen the financial inclusion initiated under the “One Woman, One Bank Account” policy.

The design of the savings bank account is simple in the following ways: the accounts are targeted to Kafaalat beneficiaries, beneficiaries can open these accounts at agent shops or ATMs, and initial transactions through these accounts will include balance inquiry, cash in and cash out, transfer funds received from Ehsaas to mobile accounts, mobile top-up, utility bill payments, and money transfers.

Additionally, the accounts will also offer savings on deposits.

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1 COMMENT

  1. What is Citizenship By Investment & Different Citizenship programs?
    Citizenship By Investment program provides an individual the right to be fully involved in the affairs of the state. However, Such activities include voting and owning properties and so much more. The person who is recognized by the law as a citizen of a particular nation-state has the duty of abiding with the rules and regulations of that state.

    Why Will I Consider Second Citizenship Programs?
    Citizenship By Investment Programs – Our Second citizenship program comes to play when one seeks to be a citizen of another country, nation, or state. Similarly, That country will become a new home country for the person. In addition, One invests due to some engagements or attachments such as business, travel, marriage, education or the person may wish to be a legal member of that country. Therefore, These reasons make up the importance of the second citizenship program.

    Security and Happiness
    When you have an investment in one country and your family is in another you will find out that you feel a little unsecured. Although, This is because you might have to travel from time to time to check on your family and spend some time with them. Sometimes you have to rush back to business to avoid anything going wrong. Also, you might not really be happy because your role in the family is being missed. But with a second citizen program, this issue will be well taken care of. This is because your family can freely come to live with you in the new country of your investment.

    Easy Travel Being Citizenship By Investment
    Above all, Every passport you hold has a couple of visa-free country list. This means you can actually travel to those countries without a visa. For example, an American citizen can travel to Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Italy, and a host of other countries. The individual can visit these locations without a visa. This is because he/she has an American passport. The second citizenship program allows individuals to visit even more countries with ease without requesting a visa.

    Financial Flexibility
    The second citizenship program helps you with financial flexibility. This is important for international business competition. As a citizen of a country, accessing loans and grants from the government becomes easier. The same goes for financial institutions. You can legally move your money about with ease.

    Citizenship by Investment Program comes in the next means of going about the second citizenship program. Aside from marriage and naturalization. Nevertheless, acquiring citizenship by investment takes a process which includes:

    A Clear Criminal Record
    Foreign national seeking citizenship by investment is required to have a clean criminal record. This will show that he does not seek second citizenship because of dubious reasons. This document is usually certified by the state security agency.

    It Requires Investment
    Investment worth a certain minimum amount or more is required by the host country. This is before citizen by investment is considered. The minimum amount is determined by the host country and it varies from one country to another.

    It Requires a Proof of Lawful Funding and Active Participation
    The host county demands that the means of funding the investment will be legal and proven to be so. Also that the foreign national who seeks second citizenship will be an active member of his investment. To this effect, the investor has good knowledge about the investment.

    Citizenship by investment may be seen as security to acquiring second citizenship. It is quite beneficial, effective, and easy. However, requirements and processes totally depend on the host country. The processes differ from one country to another.

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